If basketball were more like hockey, Lockport might have stood a minor chance against the Niagara Frontier League's perennial power.
But this is high school basketball, played over four quarters, not three periods, and this was Niagara Falls.
Head coach Sal Constantino's visiting Wolverines went on a convincing 25-2 third-quarter run to beat the Lockport Lions handily, 63-33, Thursday, topping Niagara Frontier boys basketball action before the largest crowd of the season in the Lions' Den.
The Lions (3-3 NFL, 5-5 overall) stayed in the game throughout the first half, leading 11-9 after one quarter and trailed by just 22-17 at the half. Add the fourth quarter scoring and the game could certainly have been much closer.
But after a sluggish first half, Constantino told his players in the locker room to step up their game and they thoroughly dominated Lockport in the third. The Falls allowed just one basket by Lions' junior forward Moziah Townsend midway through, scoring 13 straight points to open the second half and finishing with a 12-0 run to close out the third, leading more than comfortably by then, 47-19.
“We talked at halftime about our lack of energy. We came out with poor energy and they took advantage of it,” Constantino said. “You have to give them a lot of credit. Lockport played hard in the first half and they went in at halftime with a lot of confidence.”
Vinzell Watkins led the Falls (6-0 NFL, 7-1 overall) with a game-high 20 points, including four, 3-pointers, while Dhnarsic Hightower had 13 and Jermaine Crumpton added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Falls.
The Lions were led by Charlie Sobieraski's nine points on a trio of three-pointers for the junior forward. Seniors Omaro Luke and Kalin Mitchell scored six each for LHS and junior Ryan Guyton added five points. Sobieraski also led the Lions with 10 rebounds in heavy traffic.
“They pretty much got us out of our game in the third quarter,” Luke said. “It's like we went into a funk.”
Next up, the Lions play at Kenmore East at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
GAME NOTES: Niagara Falls won the junior varsity contest, 65-54 ... Among those attending Thursday's game were retired Union-Sun & Journal advertising director Dick Conley, Lockport's finest Sal Licata and Dave Barrancotta and former LHS basketball players Angelo DiMillo, Dorian Polk and helping out with stats at the scorer's table, US&J contributing columnist and 1340 AM Lockport WLVL Radio sports commentator Ethan Randall ... LCTV broadcast the game live with Jim Slowey and recently-retired City of Lockport streets department employee Danny Sheehan calling the shots.
Iroquois 63, Starpoint 53
CHEEKTOWAGA — Lauren Jenson scored a game-high 18 points to lead Iroquois (4-1 ECIC) over the visiting Lady Spartans in ECIC Div. II girls hoops action Thursday night.
Topping head coach Megan Rumschik's Lady Spartans with 16 points was senior Erika Longwell.
Senior Mackendzie Britton and freshman Erica Bradley added 10 each for Starpoint (2-3 ECIC II, 6-4).
Next up for the Lady Spartans is a home game at 7 p.m. Monday against West Seneca East.